Looking to Jesus, interim week 1

By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

This is the first week of our brief summer break from meeting for book study, but we still want to bring you content to keep the themes of covenant community swirling in your minds and hearts. My home is blessedly full with family this week as we are preparing to send off my oldest son and his wife to their new assignment in Northern California—so far away!—and I’m doing well to spell my name correctly. So, instead of writing the post which is marinating in my heart, I will direct you to an article written by Christina Fox. Continue reading

Looking to Jesus, Chapter 6

By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

It’s Summertime here in Texas, which means that school’s out, pools and waterparks are open, and shorts and sandals are standard everyday wear. Of course, being Texas, the shorts and sandals have been in use for several months already. When the sandals come out, it’s pedicure season; the footsies need some sprucing up for their higher visibility; after all, painted toes are part of the accessory package—right? I went for my first pedicure of the season a month ago, and part of the process of getting my feet ready for sandals involved a lot of soaking and special potions and lotions before bringing out the “cheese grater” to tackle my callouses. Continue reading

Looking to Jesus, Chapter 5

By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

In the summer of 2012 I grew tired of only hearing about my children’s adventures and decided to join our youngest daughter, Erin, and Venture Crew 241, for a four-day hike on the Appalachian Trail in Maine. I was training for my second half-marathon at the time and reasonably fit, after all; how hard could it be? After months of planning, preparation, and practice hikes, we arrived at the trailhead, made a final check of our gear, strapped on our packs (mine weighed approximately a thousand pounds), and walked into the beautiful woods and mountains of the Maine wilderness.

Continue reading

Looking to Jesus, Chapter 4

By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

Long, long ago (1986), in a land far, far away (San Francisco), I attended the Defense Language Institute (DLI), courtesy of the U. S. Army (Reserves), for the purpose of learning the German language. Before that time, I had never taken a language course. This was in the dark ages, before learning a foreign language was required to graduate high school. As I prepared to join the Army (Reserves), I took a test which measured my aptitude for learning languages and scored rather high enough that I was encouraged to pursue it as a focus of my potential military career. As it happens, they were right, and learning German came easily to me. Continue reading

Looking to Jesus, Chapter 3

By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

We’ve all seen them, the posters (or posts) of a lovely scene with a woman throwing her arms wide with abandon, or walking away from the camera with purposeful step, overlaid with a quote meant to inspire, saying something like:

“Sometimes walking away is the only option. Not because you want to make someone miss you, or realize they took you for granted. But because you finally respect yourself enough to know that you deserve better.”

The memes are many. Whatever the specific quote, the message is clear. Don’t trust other people because they will deplete, disappoint, hurt, reject, abandon, or take you for granted. The solution: Keep a cool distance. Protect yourself. Walk away. Continue reading

Q and A, from Chapter 2

By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

In our morning class on Tuesday we came across a question in chapter 2 for which we had no answer. On page 36 of Women’s Ministry in the Local Church, there are a number of passages from Scripture that define womanhood. We understood the idea that “Women’s helper ministry can be summarized as community and compassion,” but were struggling to connect that to the accompanying verse reference: Psalm 144:12, “May our sons in their youth / be like plants full grown, / our daughters like corner pillars / cut for the structure of a palace.”

We emailed Susan Hunt, hoping she could shed some light on the connection for us. We asked, “How are corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace descriptive of community and compassion? Is the verse reference a typo?” Here is her thorough and thoughtful answer: Continue reading

Looking to Jesus, Chapter 2

By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

We live in a time of increasingly radical ideas. In our post-Christian society, the abandonment of everything traditional is happening at a breathtaking pace. It seems the pillars of society can’t be knocked down fast enough. The roles of men and women have long been debated and shifting, and in many areas they ought to have been. But bringing equality to women in the workplace and in the voting booth wasn’t enough. The voices of reason have been drowned out by the voices of madness. We have come to a point where the mere suggestion in the public arena that there are distinctions between men and women, that there is an absolute difference between genders, is to commit cultural sin. Continue reading